When you think of February you think of the colors pink and red for Valentine’s Day. Many don’t think of Amethyst the birthstone color for February. So, in honor of the last full week of February, yes, I said it the last full week, I want to introduce a Purple inspired recipe using eggplants! This recipe also incorporates a tasty texture using pickled cabbage.
The Extraordinary Benefits of Eggplant
Eggplant is part of the potato family, inherent to India, and combines well in the meals with other foods as a non-starchy vegetable. Eggplant has been around since the ninth century, with the Chinese and Arabs being the first to grow them. According to Paul Pitchford, eggplant reduces swelling, clears stagnant blood by dissolving congealed blood and accumulations such as tumors resulting from stagnant blood, specifically treats congealed blood affecting the uterus, and has hemostatic action (reduces bleeding). As a result, eggplant is used for bleeding hemorrhoids, blood in the urine, and bleeding in general. It is possibly because it is a rich source of bioflavonoids, which renew arteries and prevent strokes and other hemorrhages.
Eggplant is also known to lower cholesterol and is an excellent source of dietary fiber, with 2.5 grams per 3 ½ ounce (100 grams) serving and is low in calories while rich in water. Chlorogenic acid, a phenolic compound in eggplant, has anti-cancer, anti-microbial, anti-viral and anti-LDL (bad cholesterol) properties. Because it is a substantial source of Vitamin C, it can have some additional antibacterial/viral benefits. It’s also a very good source of vitamins B1 and B6 and potassium. In addition, eggplants are a good source of copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, niacin, and folic acid. Finally, if you have SIBO you will be glad to hear that it is a low-FODMAP food, so you can enjoy it without limitations.
Eggplant is also a brain food: it contains anthocyanin (the purple color of the skin) Nasunin, a potent antioxidant and free radical scavenger that has been shown in research to protect cell membranes from damage and specifically protects the lipids (fats) in brain cell membranes. Nasunin can even chelate iron, which can be of benefit to people with hemochromatosis!
Eggplant Alert: eggplant should be eaten sparingly by pregnant women. In Japan, women are advised not to eat eggplant during pregnancy because it can cause miscarriage. People with rheumatoid arthritis tend to do better when avoiding nightshades (including eggplants), so if that is your case, remove all nightshades for 2 weeks and then reintroduce them to see if your joints get more inflamed – it may but may not happen.
Pickled Cabbage – Making Your Own or Store Bought
A picture is worth a thousand words, but how about a good demo video? My good friend and fellow nutritionist Tom Malaterre can walk you through the process of making sauerkraut right in his kitchen! If you do not have time to make your own I have a few favorite Organic Sauerkraut brands that taste just as good, Cortland Valley Organic Sauerkraut and Raw Organic Sauerkraut by Wildbrine.
Best Option to Receive Optimal Flavor
Grilling and blackening meat is detrimental to your health. When you cook muscle meat, such as beef, pork, fish, or poultry with high-temperature methods, e.g. pan frying or grilling directly over an open flame, you create heterocyclic amines (HCAs) and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs), both of which have been shown mutagenic in studies—that is, they cause changes in DNA that may increase the risk of cancer. You can learn more about the affects of grilling in this blog post.
However, grilling vegetables on stove top on a cast iron grilling pot can be fun and you avoid the risks associated with the open fire and meat. Eggplant really likes the grill!
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